How to keep kids interested in coding | Parent’s Guide

How to keep kids interested in Coding

It’s hard to predict whether or not kids will stay interested in the extracurricular activities they participate in. Some of these will provide them with a passion or interest that lasts a lifetime, while others won’t even last them the entire school year. There are a lot of things that can influence your child’s interest in picking up the ability of coding, and understanding how to do so can be one of those things.

Coding is the new literacy—no exaggeration. The market for software-related occupations is growing rapidly and won’t stop anytime soon. The Brookings Institution predicts more than one million computing job opportunities by 2024, with demand surpassing supply by as much as 10-to-1 depending on location and type of work. With so many coding classes for kids, it’s distressing to see students lose interest so rapidly. Many second graders have lost interest by fifth grade.

As early learning experts, we’re on a mission to change that, and we think the first step is for parents to recognize why kids drop off. It’s not because coding is somehow “too difficult.” Kids quickly lose interest when they feel like they have to memorize a bunch of commands and syntax. Instead, they need to feel like they’re actually making something meaningful. We’re here to help parents give their kids the best chance of success.

In this blog, you will find out the most common reasons why children give up on learning to code, as well as what you can do to ensure that they get the full benefits of coding education.

Why is this happening?

Consider these seven reasons why kids don’t tend to stick with coding:

1.Coding is hard and frustrating. As with any new skill, it’s natural for kids to experience a certain amount of frustration. However, because coding is such a new skill, most kids haven’t yet developed the patience required to work through the challenges they encounter while trying to learn.

2.Coding is an iterative process. You write a program, you test it, you see if it works. If it doesn’t work, you go back and change some of the code and try again. Kids who are just starting out often don’t know how long it will take to get a program working properly. And, their frustration level rises when they can’t get it right the first time. With frustration comes the loss of interest. Coding can become less appealing when kids don’t see a quick payoff for their efforts.

3.Kids don’t see the point in coding. Beginners who use pre-programmed “drag and drop” interfaces often encounter a roadblock. Many kids wonder “Why am I doing this?” or “What good will this do?” when they start programming code. Kids merely need to recognize the importance in learning. Learning to code helps create new things. Writers must build characters and scenes from scratch. Coders must create programs from scratch. Coders love this. It lets kids create things that don’t exist.

4.It’s not creative or expressive enough. Another reason kids lose interest in coding is that the medium is too limited to allow kids to create things that are truly unique. Kids can create amazing things with computers. They can build games, create websites, and design new types of software. But most kids are building on what has already been created by someone else. It’s like learning to play the piano by reading sheet music. It’s not that coding is bad; it’s just that there are other activities that offer better ways to express.

5.Coding is taught poorly in most schools. Coders often clash with their teachers. Many primary school teachers lack computer programming knowledge. Coding-obsessed kids sometimes think their teachers don’t care. Explaining coding principles, exploring different programming methods, and discussing computer language history and evolution seem to be neglected. Hands-on coding is ideal. However, non-expert teachers may not recognize the importance of hands-on learning. Coding is creative and play-based. Play-based learning is hard to assess, therefore teachers generally ignore it.

6.Coding is a solo activity. If you’ve ever watched kids code, you’ve probably noticed that most are alone at a computer. Kids are social creatures; they learn best when they are collaborating and interacting with other people. Coding doesn’t lend itself as easily to collaborative learning. You can collaborate on building a website, but coding is more of a solitary pursuit. When you are coding, you have your editor, your computer, and your programming language. You can talk to other kids about what you are doing, but you are not necessarily interacting with others. Coding is collaborative; you can work on a website with others, but you are not necessarily working together.

7.Kids struggle with the vocabulary of coding. Another reason kids lose interest in coding is that they don’t understand the language that is used when programming. The words and phrases used in coding aren’t words that kids encounter in their everyday lives. This is one of the reasons why it’s important for kids to start learning coding early. The more familiar they become with the language of coding, the easier it is for them to learn. If your kid is learning to code, take the time to look up the words and phrases that are unfamiliar to you. Some of the best ways to learn anything are to talk about it with others, read about it, and write about it.

How to keep kids interested in Coding?

1.Starting With the Right Language

There are a large variety of programming languages now in use. It could be tough to identify which one is the most ideal for your child, especially for parents who do not have any prior expertise with coding themselves. Make sure your child learns a beginner-friendly language. Choosing a language that is tough for first-timers to learn is a surefire method to set kids up for failure and increase their level of annoyance.

Java or C++ may be the starting point for some college programs, but they are not good choices for younger pupils. A language with simpler grammar is better.

Parents must consider their child’s initial enthusiasm for coding. Young web developers should consider HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Before going on to more difficult programming languages used by professional game designers, beginners can utilize Scratch to make their own video games.

Consider your child’s age when making judgments. Students in primary school usually perform better when they begin their programming education with block-based languages like Scratch rather than moving on to text-based languages. Python, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript are easy text-based languages for middle school and high school students to master.

2.Picking the Right Program

You don’t want to choose a difficult programming language or software that doesn’t match your child’s age and expertise. Consider both. Younger children in programs for teens or adults are more likely to fall behind, not understand, and drop out. Teaching youngsters to code with live online coding sessions is better than self-learning tools or DVDs. Young students benefit from an instructor who can answer questions and illustrate coding topics.

Because of this, all SkoolofCode lessons are taught online by professional instructors. The programs are divided into elementary, middle, and high school since they are tailored to each age level. Each program has a defined curriculum that emphasizes learning through projects and a presentation of their joyful learning method. Project-based learning lets students build and customize video games, websites, and mobile apps to understand each coding topic.

When students can instantly apply what they learn in class, it makes learning to code more fun and motivates them to keep studying.

3. Build problem-solving ability

Learning to code is comparable to learning a new language because each programming language has its own syntax, which must be learned in order to create code in the correct format. It takes a certain amount of time to learn the rules of a specific language, and it is inevitable that children will make mistakes as they learn. Debugging, which is the process of locating and correcting mistakes, comes into play at this point, although it can be a very frustrating process? Especially for children who are accustomed to picking up new skills with relative ease, debugging can be a frustrating experience that makes children want to give up.

Because one of the many significant benefits of learning how to code is a boost in problem-solving abilities, it is essential for parents to provide emotional and intellectual support to their children whenever they have challenges. Kids who learn to code also learn how to practice computational thinking, which is the process of tackling a problem in a step-by-step and logical manner. In order to reduce the likelihood of your kid experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed, you should encourage your child to correct each mistake one step at a time.

4. Play Games That Teach Coding Skills

No matter what age your kids are, they can benefit from learning some basic coding skills. There are many games and websites that kids can play that will teach them coding concepts. Some of these games are:

  •  Hopscotch is a visual programming language that uses colorful blocks to create games, stories, or any type of interactive content.
  •  Scratch is a programming language and online community where kids create their own interactive stories, animations, games, and more.
  •  Code Combat is an online multiplayer game that teaches Python coding.
  •  Code.org has lots of different games and activities for kids, like the Hour of Code.

5. Help Them Build Their Own Games

Kids love to create their own things. Give them the chance to create their very own game or app. You can use some basic coding concepts to help them do this.

  • This can be as simple as helping a younger child create an app with a drag-and-drop code program, or helping an older child create an app with a simple code editor like Python.
  • Helping your kids build their own game is a great way to introduce them to coding while giving them a chance to put their creativity to use.
  • It can also be a great bonding experience as a parent, since learning to code is a hands-on process that can be great for staying engaged with your kids.
  • It also gives your kids a great way to show off their skills and explore their creativity.

6. Go On Adventures Together

If you have the chance, go on some adventures with your kids. While you’re out and about, talk about how coding is an integral part of our daily lives. You can point out examples of coding in your daily life and how it makes your life easier: like how your car uses coding to start, or how a traffic light uses coding to control the flow of traffic. You can also look for ways that you can integrate coding into your adventures. For example, you can use coding to help you make your travel plans, or you can use coding to help you create a photo story of your trip. Any way you can incorporate coding into your daily life will help your kids see the practical uses of coding in their own lives.

 

7. Try Coding Apps Together

If you have younger kids, try some coding apps with them. There are many apps designed for kids that use visual coding languages, like Kodable, ScratchJr, and Hopscotch. These apps are great for helping kids explore coding concepts and get hands-on practice. Even if they don’t fully understand everything they are doing, they can still have fun playing with these apps. They are also a great way to introduce kids to coding in a low-pressure environment like beginners.

8. Show Them What You Do Every Day

If you work in a field that involves any sort of coding, show your kids what you do. Let them see you create code, and explain what you are doing. If you can, start a coding project at home with your kids. You can look for simple coding projects that will be easy for kids to complete, or you can choose something a little more challenging. This is a great way to get your kids interested in coding because it makes it a part of their lives. They will be more engaged with it if they are actively participating in it. You can also use this as an opportunity to help your kids learn valuable 21st-century skills, such as creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, and self-confidence.

Conclusion

Bringing coding into your daily routine can be tough, especially if you have younger kids. However, it’s important to start as early as possible. When kids are young, they are more open to new ideas and concepts than they will be later in life. They also have fewer preconceptions about what coding is and what it can do. Once kids get older, they will have much more baggage around coding. They will have heard countless negative things about how programming is pointless and boring. They will have heard plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t become coders, such as how it’s too hard for them or how there are too few jobs. If you can start introducing coding to your kids when they are young, they will have a much easier time embracing the idea. This is the best way to keep kids interested in coding throughout their lives.

We recognize the significance of learning to code as a parent. For kids, this may be challenging at first, but with the correct support, they may do great things. Having the opportunity to study computer science at a young age is a wonderful gift that our generation can provide our children.

If you are interested in teaching your children how to code, sign up for a free trial of the program now!

 

By – Ms. Manpreet Virk, Head of E-learning and an educator at SkoolofCode with degree in M.Phil. and Master in Computer Science. She is passionate about learning and teaching young minds.

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